Purls of Wisdom

Crocheting: How It Is Different from Knitting, and Why You Should Try It This Summer!

Posted by Cameron Lee on Sun, Jul 15, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

So you’ve decided to try out handwork with your kids this summer, but you can’t choose between knitting and crocheting. What are the differences? Which is easier? Do they both offer the health benefits that we discovered knitting helps with in our last blog post? If you were never taught the difference between the two, it can be daunting to figure out how to start. You may have a family member that knits or crochets, but you’re not quite sure what goes into the different processes, and you’ve never thought to ask them why they prefer one form of the craft over the other. In this post we’ll explore the history of crocheting together, talk about the differences (and similarities!) between knitting and crocheting, and help you figure out which of the two you’d rather learn first! (If neither seem right for you, check out this blog post on kumihimo, a form of Japanese braiding, and an awesome summer activity for your kids.)Hands crocheting with blue yarn and crochet hook

Crocheting, or the process of making “a piece of needlework by looping thread with a hooked needle,” has history in many countries around the world. A lot less is known about the origins of crocheting than knitting, but some researchers believe that the art originated in Arabia and traveled around the world via Arab trade routes, while others believe crocheting was born in South America or China. Even though the history of crocheting is not very well documented, its role in the world has been very important! After the Irish potato famine in the mid 1800s, for example, families survived on money they made from selling their crochet projects, and when millions of Irish people immigrated to America to escape the famine, they brought crocheting with them.

Early crochet projects were made using anything from hair to grass to animal fur as yarn, and animal bone, horns, old spoons, and wood served as substitutes for the crochet hooks used today. One of the main uses of crocheting in 16th century Europe, for example, was to imitate the fashionable lace that wealthier people could afford, but that people of the lower classes couldn’t. Nowadays people crochet afghans, blankets, scarves, hats, shawls, socks, tote bags, and more!

Now that I’ve told you all about crocheting and knitting, it’s time to learn about the similarities and differences between the two so you can pick which to try first! Both crocheting and knitting can be done by following patterns and you can make mostly the same projects using either technique. They require similar sets of skills - hand-eye coordination, patience, determination to see a project through to the end - and because of this, crocheting offers many of the same health benefits as knitting.

Crocheting and knitting, on the other hand, don’t use all of the same supplies. Instead of using two needles like you do when you hand knit, crocheting is done with a single hook. Although there are knitting machines that help mass produce clothes, no machine has yet been invented that properly mimics crochet stitches, so almost all crocheting is done by hand.  

There is no simple answer to which process is easier: some people find crocheting more natural to pick up and others think knitting is less difficult. Because you can make very similar projects with knitting and crocheting, whether you wish to create a blanket or a hat shouldn’t stop you from exploring one or the other. If you want to help teach your child how to knit, check out our last blog post for some amazing resources on getting started!

Crochet hook and purple yarnIf you wish to try crocheting, you have many options for how to begin! You can send your kids to one of The Handwork Studio’s summer camps where they can learn all sorts of crafts, or you can check out The Handwork Studio’s YouTube tutorial on how to get started crocheting and learn right alongside your kids. No matter which technique you choose to learn and how you decide to explore it, The Handwork Studio will be right by your side with resources and guidance.

If you and your child work on projects that you want to share, post a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #SewMoreLove! We would love to see what you and your young crafters create this summer!

Tags: Knitting, Crochet, Fun, Summer, Handwork, Inspiration, Kids Activities, Crocheting

Craft Yarn Council Launches #StitchAwayStress Campaign

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 09:59 AM

Stitch Away StressIt's no secret that we love teaching kids how to knit and crochet.  We've been hearing it in recent months about the therapeutic affects that knitting and crochet have on humans. The Craft Yarn Council has launched a month long campaign to spread awareness of the mood boosting effects on the human body during National Stress Awareness month.

 

They'll be sharing projects and fun ways to use these craft techniques to live a more stress-free life.   Be sure to follow them throughout April on their InstagramFacebookPinterest and Twitter pages. You can also enter to win great giveaways and share your stories about how knitting or crochet has changed your life.




 

 

We see the positive effects of knitting and crochet all year round. Children and adults alike are able to relax, focus and create a sense of accomplishment and peace working through their projects.  Be sure to hop over and read the full details of the campaign here.

Tags: Knitting, Crochet, Craft Yarn Council, Campaign

Knit and Crochet Halloween Costumes

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:16 AM

Knit + Crochet Halloween CostumeaIf you've been on the internet this week you probably saw the cutest Halloween Costume photo gallery from The Ellen Degeneres Show. We loved so many of knitted and crocheted projects that we created a Pinterest Board to share some of the favorites that we found.



Some of the costumes have patterns linked to them for creating and others are for purchase from sites like Etsy. Even with Halloween just a few days away, there is always time to think of next year. Also, kids love dressing up all year round so why not try your hand at some of the projects below? We'd love to see what you create. Check out our board below and be sure to hop over to our Pinterest page and follow us!



Follow The Handwork Studio's board Knit + Crochet Halloween Costumes on Pinterest.




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Upcoming Events At The Handwork Studio:
One Day Camp on Nov. 4th


One Day Campv for Election Day

Tags: kids knitting, Crochet

There is still time to join us at Summer Camp!

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Sat, Jul 26, 2014 @ 10:35 AM

Join Us At Summer Camp We want you to know that we still have space at many of our camp locations. The supplies are here, the counselors are ready and your child is welcome to join us for a creative good time as we move into the final weeks of summer. We are so excited and grateful for all the campers we've been working with and if you are thinking about signing up for a week of camp, now is the time to register.

You can search for locations close to you here. Want to see our summer camp photo gallery? Visit our Facebook Page here.

If you have any questions or need additional assistance please contact Miss Alexis at the studio- 610.660.9600 or simply contact us here.

We hope you are enjoying your summer!

The Handwork Studio Team

Tags: embroidery, Machine Sewing, Fashion Camp, Summer Camp, Knitting, Crochet

Getting ready for another fabulous Summer at The Handwork Studio!

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 12:42 PM

Summer camp is right around the corner and I've been spending the month of May at Rosemont College in our storage rooms sorting, folding, cutting, piling, and labeling. There has also been an extraordinary amount of shopping, as you can imagine! This image is of the room I'm working in right now!

getting ready for summer camp! 

When I started here 5 years ago we had 2 summer camp loactions; Rosemont College and our studio in Narberth, PA. This summer we will be in 22 locations across 7 states!  I've been sourcing our materials for all of the camps for the last 3 years. Throughout the year my team and I develop a robust curriculum and then research the best vendors to partner with. I look at prices, materials and the manufacturing locations. It's my job to buy the best quality (cottons, wools, bamboo knitting needles) at the lowest costs and pass the  savings on to our clients so our camps can remain affordable. I'm also concerned about sustainability, which might surprise you since (unless you are talking about nature camp) you don't really here about the environment and camp in the same sentence. But... did you know that all of our felt is made from recycled plastic bottles? It is! Additionally, I try to buy local, whenever possible, and I never pay for shipping! (Mostly because I'm buying local and can go pick it up in The Handwork Studio Van!)

The Van!

One of our favorite local vendors is Gaffney Fabrics. I know I’ve blogged about them before, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention them here. As a business partner, The Gaffney family (Joe + Lenore and their daughter, Kate) understands our needs and our students.  The search all year for the fabrics that they think we might like and then we work together to determine costs and quantities. 

I would also be remiss if I didn’t' mention that Kate Gaffney and I went to grade school together and life brought us back together through our business adventures... This photo was taken in the 8th grade. That's me on the left. And yes, Kate is still that much taller than me. But she doesn't have braces anymore.

Miss Melissa and Kate Gaffney

From Fiber Crafts to Fashion Boot Camp, I look forward to sharing our hard work with your campers this summer. 

                      XOXO

                     Miss Melissa

Tags: kids knitting, Story Time, crafts, kids programs, creativity, imagination, teach kids to knit, stitch, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, activities, camp, Handwork, Kids' craft class

The Handwork Studio's 5th Annual Student Art Exhibit...Sew Beautiful!

Posted by Laura Kelly on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:08 PM

There’s something to be said for the First Friday’s in Narberth.

The stores are open late, live music fills the air and on that first Friday in May, The Handwork Studio is abuzz with the glowing laughter and pride of our artists.

This year, the studio celebrates it’s 5th annual Student Art Exhibit.  The exhibit is an opportunity for all of our artists to showcase their finest works and share with friends, family and the community at large the fruits of their very crafty labor.  And quite frankly, it’s awesome.

DSCN4798 resized 600

I hope that you’ll join us this year as our studio is transformed into one of the Main Line’s most exclusive art hangouts on Friday May 4th, from 7pm-9pm.  Come out and enjoy the show!

As we wrap up the 2011/2012 year, we’re looking ahead to Fall 2012 and beyond!  As of May 1st our Fall Session will be available for you take part in.  I recommend that you plan early so that once registration opens you’ll be off and running before you can say “yarn”!  You can register online by clicking here Fall Class Registration

Or you can call us in the studio, we always love speaking with our friends, new and old.

We hope to see you on First Friday!

Tags: kids knitting, handwork classes begin, kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Kids Birthday Parties, art exhibit, creativity, imagination, First Friday, Fall Class, Registration, Fall Class Registration, Summer Camp, Narberth, Kids Camp, Crochet, kids, fun kids activities, activities, Narberth kids' activities

FiberPhiladelphia 2012

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 @ 06:30 AM

Hi there! Miss Melissa here for a double shot of blog posts. Last week I wrote about the American Camp Association's Tri State Camp Conference and while I was there I talked A LOT about FiberPhiladelphia and promised to share more details... Here they are:

FiberPhiladelphia 2012 is an international biennial and regional festival for innovative fiber/textile art. Exhibitions are happening at more than 40 locations including major institutions and independent venues during the event. They will include work by renowned international artists and a new generation of artists breaking into the field. The first shows began in January and they stretch until June.

Now, if you've been reading our blog, you'll know that March is National Craft Month. But did you know that on March 2nd May Michael Nutter declared by official proclamation that March is Fiber Arts Month in Philadelphia? Well, friends, it's true. At the opening ceremony which was held at Moore College of Art and Design we were treated to a welcome address by Mayor Nutter (at a yarn bombed microphone), an introduction by Dr. Happy Fernandez (President of Moore), another intro by Amy Orr (Executive Director of FiberPhiladelphia 2012) and finally, a keynote lecture by Elissa Auther. She is the author of String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art (Minnesota, 2010). Click here to see photos of this amazing event and the opening that occurred afterward at the Crane Arts BUilding! 

Miss Melissa yarn bombing Mayor Nutter's microphone.  Mayor Nutter at said Microphone.

Yes, that's me yarn bombing the microphone that Mayor Nutter, et al, spoke at.


Now, at this point, you may be asking yourself why I am writing about this. What's the tie back to The Handwork Studio? Here's the deal: I work for The Handwork Studio year round as the Director of Curriculum and Education, but I'm also a fiber artist who makes and shows work in galleries. I was drawn to FiberPhiladelphia in January 2011 by a fellow fiber artist and the next thing I knew I found myself on the Executive Board of this fabulous festival surrounded by the most amazing individuals: artists, curators, students, designers and volunteers. Together, we created the single most important Fiber Arts event in Philadelphia in the last 20 years. I am so proud to be a part of this group and promote the exhibitions, support our business sponsors and spread the word.

So please stop by The Handwork Studio and pick up one of our directories and plan your visit to our shows around the city today! You can also find them at many locations around town; check the website for a list of our exhibitions and support your local fiber artists!

Full Disclosure / Shameless Plug:

I have a number of shows during the festival that I would love for you to share with your children, friends and family. Click here for the full exhibitions list and search for "Melissa". You can see some of the work I do when I'm not knitting bunnies and sewing marshmallows!

If you're reading this, chances are you have a little fiber artist at home and in that case I would strongly recommend that if you're in the Philadelphia area between now and the end of April, take them to see Cold Comfort at The Schuylkill Center for Envrionmental Education. This show has been delighting the little ones (and not so little ones) since January and is a real treat, both indoors and out!

little tree hugger at Cold Comfort.

Enjoy!

Miss Melissa

 

Tags: kids knitting, crafts, kids programs, art exhibit, fiber arts, stitch, travel, Workshops, website, National Craft Month, Narberth, Reccomendations, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, project ideas, camp, Handwork, Narberth kids' activities